Tonight on the finale of Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson is scheduled to discuss global warming. We’ll see how he handles such a “controversial” topic. I find he can be just a touch arrogant, but as I confessed to a friend, I treat him unfairly for the fault of not being Carl Sagan, who we lost far too soon, which ironically, is completely irrational, unscientific thinking. (I actually wrote this a while ago and decided against posting it, but I’ll post it now.)
I got so depressed today contemplating how no one is even discussing the UN’s findings on global warming. Not the results so much, though you can count me among the worried, but because I realized the people sounding the alarm are perceived, by many, as perversely eager for global warming to be happening or as enjoying spreading morbid predictions about the future of our planet. I get not wanting to think about it. If the consensus of scientists is correct then it’s dam town psychology. In a dam town people living closer to the dam worry more about a flood up to a point, but the people living just under the dam don’t think about it at all, because there’s nothing they could do about it. We’re all under the dam, if the science is correct. If it’s not, great. Fantastic. Or if a solution is discovered, which is possible, I’m sure people are working on it. Also great. In the meantime, there are people worried about the survival of humanity as we know it. What a lonely feeling that must be, to be scared for the future of the human race and have people treating you like you’re rooting for its demise. We all hope they’re wrong. They hope they’re wrong. Is it too much to ask to think they’re wrong and still have empathy for how they must be feeling? Maybe it is. Maybe the prospect is too terrifying for us to get that close to it.
Recently we celebrated reaching a global population of seven billion people. Humans are like every other animal, we’ll expand in numbers until we can’t anymore. We’re adaptive and inventive but what’s the number before the planet is simply too filled? Is it ten billion? Twenty? Smart people, who study this for a living, are suggesting we might be past that number. How does that not frighten everyone? A population crash is at least possible. It’s happened numerous times in the history of humans being isolated on various islands or regions of the planet. If it’s that we’re too frightened and don’t want to think about it, okay. I get that. That’s me almost every day. I just don’t get intentionally fighting it. I don’t get putting stickers on a gas-guzzling truck that read “Wasting all the gas your hybrid is saving”. I don’t get talk show hosts “celebrating” Earth Day by purposely wasting resources. Sadly this wasn’t completely made up:
There were probably people on Easter Island chopping down trees for no other reason but as a way of arguing with the people who were worried they were on the verge of deforesting their isolated world, which they were:
In the UN article I read, one of the climatologists projected that depleted food sources would lead to massive starvation in third world countries and then he said something that’s stuck with me since. “I’m worried.” So many of us, on both sides of this issue, are so busy arguing and debating and feeling right, and this guy’s just worried. That’s, I guess, what I would wish, not for everyone to believe him that global warming is occurring, but that everyone would believe that he, and other people too, are genuinely worried. We can hope and believe and even act as if nothing is going to come from all this global warming and still believe there are people worried.